General Frequently Asked Questions
What is a combined sewer system?
A combined sewer system (CSS) is a type of sewer system that collects sanitary sewage and stormwater runoff in a single pipe system. Combined sewer systems are found throughout the United States, but are most heavily concentrated in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions, including Buffalo. Combined sewer systems were the state of the art when they were originally designed and constructed.
What is a combined sewer overflow (CSO)?
A combined sewer overflow, or CSO, is the discharge of wastewater and stormwater from a combined sewer system into a waterway. This most often occurs during heavy rains. CSOs were designed to relieve the combined sewer system during wet weather and protect downstream treatment facilities and private property.
What is being done to prevent CSOs from occurring in local waterways?
The Buffalo Sewer Authority (BSA) is required under their current New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) issued discharge permit (SPDES Permit) and by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) under the Clean Water Act to develop a long term control plan (LTCP) to reduce CSOs. It should be noted that the BSA has invested significant financial resources in its wastewater treatment infrastructure to reduce these overflows. Development and implementation of the LTCP is a multi-year, multi-million dollar effort that will ultimately lead to a reduction in the frequency and volume of CSO discharges and an improvement in water quality.
- Buffalo Sewer Authority Acronyms and Abbreviations (PDF format)